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Celebrating Vocations Awareness Week

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

November 3, 2021

National Vocations Awareness Week (November 7-13) is a week-long celebration of the Christian vocation. It provides us with a special opportunity to foster an appreciation of all vocations while focusing specifically on those individuals discerning a vocation to the consecrated life and those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry. It’s, also, a good time to remember to keep in our prayers our fine seminarians studying for the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

We must highlight the importance of Church vocations in our local parishes. As you know, here in the North Country, we continue to address our diocesan Priorities of Creating a Culture of Vocations, Strengthening Faith Formation in Family Life and Building Parishes with Living Stones. We have heightened our awareness that each of us, by virtue of our baptism, is called to reflect on our own Christian vocation as we encourage others to respond to the Spirit’s promptings in their lives.

It’s not easy to discern one’s vocation. The Holy Father said that, for this reason, “There needs to be a renewed commitment on the part of the whole Church…to provide young people in particular with opportunities…that can open the way to discovering God’s plan, above all through prayer, meditation on God’s Word, Eucharistic adoration and spiritual accompaniment.”

Particularly during this Year of St. Joseph, we look to Joseph as an outstanding example of acceptance of God’s plans. For St. Joseph, service, as a concrete expression of the gift of self, did not remain simply a high ideal, but became a rule for daily life. Pope Francis wrote, “What a beautiful example of Christian life we give when we refuse to pursue our ambitions or indulge in our illusions, but instead care for what the Lord has entrusted to us through the Church. God then pours out His Spirit and creativity upon us; He works wonders in us, as He did in Joseph.”

I am grateful for the many ways in which our parish families promote vocations. We know how important it is for us to personally invite young women and men to consider a Church vocation. It’s good to reflect on the attitude we display in our homes towards the Church and Church leaders. Are we respectful or cynical? Do we exude the joy of the Gospel or the indifference of secularism? As a family, do we pray and talk about the gift of a Church vocation? Parish vocation committees can be important means by which a parish family focuses on vocation promotion. The Diocese of Ogdensburg Vocations Society (DOV’s) is a great source of vocation promotion and support. We are always looking for new members.

This has been a graced year in the Diocese of Ogdensburg as we celebrated the ordinations of fourteen men to the diaconate and three men to the priesthood. We thank God for their families, friends and parishes who supported and continues to sustain their vocational journey. Through personal prayer, public worship, personal invitation and creative activities, we must be intentional in our vocational promotion. We are grateful to Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, SSJ, Diocesan Vocation Coordinator, and Father Chris Carrara, Director of Vocations and Seminarians, for their tireless efforts in vocation promotion in the North Country.

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